- An explosive new book claims former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Donald Trump there was a rumour that UK intelligence services spied on the Trump campaign.
- Blair denies the allegations, with a spokesperson calling it “categorically absurd.”
- A month after the disputed meeting allegedly took place, Trump publicly claimed Obama was wiretapping him.
Tony Blair told President Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration that British intelligence services may have spied on him, alleges an explosive new book about life inside the White House by journalist Michael Wolff.
A spokesperson for the former British Prime Minister denied the story, calling it “categorically absurd” and “simply untrue.”
Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury,” is based on 200 interviews with White House staffers and months of reporting, and ahead of its publication later this month, news outlets are publishing excerpts and highlighting noteworthy allegations from it.
The claim about Blair was published as a short excerpt in The Times of London. Wolff alleges that Blair wanted to help with the Middle East initiatives of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide to the new president, and shared a “juicy rumour” he had heard.
“In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House. On this trip the new freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself,” Wolff wrote.
The implication is that “although the Obama administration would not have asked the British to spy on the Trump campaign,” it may have been hinted at that it would be helpful if did.
A month after the purported meeting, in March 2017, Trump sent a tweet alleging, without evidence, that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election, a claim denied by a spokesperson for Obama.
Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer subsequently defended Trump’s tweets by citing comments from Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, who alleged that Obama had enlisted UK intelligence agency GCHQ to help surveil Trump and his associates.
GCHQ denied the allegations, saying in a statement: “Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Tony Blair told Business Insider: “The allegations printed in The Times are categorically absurd. They are a complete fabrication, have no basis in reality and are simply untrue.”
Regardless of the anecdote’s authenticity, its publication has the potential to create headaches for British intelligence services and put pressure on the already-unusually strained relationship between the UK and the US.
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